Herbed Potato Gratin with Roasted Garlic and Manchego

Jose Garces learned how to make a classic potato gratin while studying at Kendall College's cooking school in Chicago. It's still one of his favorite side dishes. This version combines lots of sharp, nutty Manchego cheese and smoky San Simón cheese (Gouda is a fine substitute) for rich, complex flavor.


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  • Servings: 12

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  • 3 heads of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 quart half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 9 ounces aged Manchego cheese, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
  • 5 ounces San Simón or smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (1 cup)

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a 9-inch cake pan, drizzle the garlic with the oil. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes, until tender. Let cool, then squeeze out the cloves.

  2. Mash the garlic to a paste and transfer to a saucepan. Add the half-and-half, thyme and rosemary and bring to a boil. Simmer over very low heat until reduced to 3 cups, 20 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

  3. Arrange one-fourth of the potatoes in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with one-fourth of the shredded cheeses and drizzle lightly with the garlic cream. Repeat the layering with the remaining potatoes, cheese and cream. Pour any remaining cream on top and press the top layer of potatoes to submerge it.

  4. Bake the gratin for about 1 1/2 hours, until golden and bubbling. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Make Ahead

The gratin can be prepared through Step 3; refrigerate overnight. Return to room temperature before baking.

Contributed By Photo © Petrina Tinslay Published November 2008

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